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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Foreigner Card

It's the best card to hold up your sleeve in Korea. Allow me to explain, but first, here's the situation that gave me the idea for this post.

I'm driving on my scooter and there's a red light. I notice there are two old Korean men in the intersection then one whistled and yelled at a van that drove through. Hmmm... Then my side gets the green light but no one moves. We wait and wait and wait. Obviously these guys are blocking traffic. Why? Who knows. They aren't in any type of uniform. They have a yellow velcro arm patch and a whistle - one of the men is even carrying his umbrella. I know I probably should have just waited but I had places to be! I took it as an opportune time to play my foreigner card and scooted right through the intersection. They blew their whistles and looked as a drove by and, "Oh it's a foreigner...." I didn't know better...



If you're ever in a situation where you don't understand something or do something wrong (and get yelled at by an ajumma or ajashi), just play your foreigner card. For example, at gimbap restaurants (Korean fast food of sorts. They sell varieties of gimbap - kind of like a Korean sushi roll with no fish - and other popular Korean dishes) you're typically given an order form where you mark what you want. I can't read Hangul (Korean language) therefore the sheet doesn't help me. I give my order verbally to the ajummas. The ajummas who work at the little place by my house love me so it's no big deal. Others find it annoying. Sorry, I'm a silly waygookin.

I asked around on Facebook for situations where my friends have used their foreigner cards. Anna said she uses hers with cops. Suddenly she doesn't even know how to say hello in Korean.

Anthony uses his whilst taking more than one free sample at stores. I guess we hope that Koreans will think, "Oh they must be able to take as many as they want in his country." Yep, that's right!

Another situation that happened to me last weekend.... I was on my way to the beach and stopped for some food. I was wearing my swimsuit (low cut) under a dress (also low cut). The ajumma at the restaurant took it upon herself to physically show me that my swimsuit should come together more in the front. I pretended to not understand and continue eating, thus playing my foreigner card.

If you ever have your card ready to throw and a Korean speaks English to you, no problem. "No hablo Ingles."

1 comment:

  1. Haha, I've always heard it referred to as 'I'm a waygookin', like it excuses all manner of sins and indiscretions. Love it.

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